In Curitiba, as in many South American cities, orphaned children often have to fend for themselves on the street or turn to crime to survive. Over twenty years ago, a Swedish Volvo employee and his wife who were posted to the Volvo Trucks factory in the city were moved by the children’s plight. They came up with the idea of building an orphanage to give the children a better start in life and integrating them into society. Today 48 children live with ‘staff parents’ at the orphanage.
The idea was hatched in 1988 by Björn and Kicki Larsson, who soon attracted the support of the Volvo Employees’ Association for Aid to Developing Countries (Volvoanställdas U-hjälpsförening), Curitiba’s social authorities and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
Today the orphanage, built on land donated rent-free for 50 years by the city, includes five houses, a football field, a vegetable garden, farm animals and recreational and teaching buildings.
Volvo Group employees in Sweden and Brazil continue to support the project with collections of toys, clothing and money.